Why the Doctrine of Creation Matters For Your Life?
She wasn’t going to yield. That much was abundantly clear. Her fists were clenched tightly as she loudly objected, straining to free herself from the dentist’s chair.
“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”
Shakespeare’s words came to mind as I looked at my three-year-old daughter with a mixture of pride and exasperation. I admired her conviction but at the same time, I knew she was fighting against something that was ultimately for her own good.
My girl had already had one bad experience at the dentist and she had no intention of repeating it. She won her battle that day after the dentist gave up (eventually we found another dentist who knew how to work with children).
A closed fist is a revealing form of body language that connotes firmness of resolve-think of someone preparing for a fight. It’s a signal of unyieldingness.
Open palms usually have a positive effect on people- a sign of making amends. Combined with outstretched arms, it communicates openness and acceptance.
People who are worshipping often, instinctively, adopt this gesture, holding their arms outstretched, palms open.
You may have heard of the phrase, open-handed vs. close-handed issues. It can be used to differentiate between the beliefs that Christians hold; the ones that are non-negotiable, clearly required by the Bible, and the ones that we may differ on with others, as the Bible is unclear on them and salvation does not hinge on their adherence on way or the other.
We must be brave enough to receive and hold to what the Bible teaches as inerrant truth from God (close-handed), but we should remain humble and avoid needless controversy when it comes to the open-handed issues.
The doctrine of creation is this,
God created the entire universe out of nothing; it was originally very good; he created it to glorify himself. (1)
This is a close-handed issue as the Bible is clear on these truths. In Genesis 1:1, it says,
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”
John 1:3 says,
“All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made”
And Revelation 4:11 tells us that,
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will, they existed and were created.”
The doctrine of creation matters for all of us- and I will tell you why in a moment.
Christians have many disagreements, though, about other questions surrounding creation, such as how old the earth and the human race are, and whether God used a process of evolution to bring about much of creation. Our knowledge here isn’t perfect. Augustine said,
“The Bible is not a scientific textbook seeking to answer the ever-changing inquiries of science but rather a theological textbook seeking to reveal God and the means by which he saves us.”
We can, and should, seek answers to these questions through the study of Scripture and through scientific and technological research, keeping in mind that the truthfulness of Scripture is not threatened and that this study in and of itself glorifies God. At the same time, we should let go of our arrogance and admit that, until Christ returns, the answers to these questions will likely remain open-handed issues.
So why does the doctrine of creation matter for us? The doctrine of creation tells us that:
A. The material universe is good in itself, for God created it good and wants us to use it in ways pleasing to him. (2) (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25)
B. God is sovereign over the universe he created. (Acts 17:25, 28)
C. We can enjoy creative activities with an attitude of thanksgiving that our Creator God enables us to imitate him in our creativity. (Ephesians 5:1)
D. If you do not believe in the doctrine of Creation, your alternative is to believe that you came from no one, you are alive on the earth for nothing, and when you die you will go nowhere. Rather, we can know that creation was made and lovingly prepared for us by a loving and personal God.
E. The doctrine of creation sets the stage for the coming of Jesus Christ. God becomes a man who is our creator amidst his creation. He comes to connect heaven and earth through himself as the mediator between the two. (3)
A quote for you:
“The artist conceives in his thought world, and then he brings forth into the external world. This is true of an artist painting a canvas, a musician composing a piece of music, an engineer designing a bridge, or a flower arranger making a flower arrangement. First, there is the conception in the thought world and then a bringing forth into the external world. And it is the same with God. God who existed before had a plan, and He created and caused these things to become objective. Furthermore, just as one can know something very real about the artist from looking at his creation, so we can know something about God by looking at His creation. The Scripture insists that even after the Fall, we still know something about God on this basis.”
“Father God, we praise you, together with all of your creation. The whole earth gives testament to your glory. You alone are worthy of all worship. We ask you to make us humble as we seek to learn more about you and your creation. We ask for wisdom so that we can know the difference between those truths you have chosen to reveal to us and those things we do not yet know. We want to honor you through the love we show others, even when we disagree. Please guide us as strengthen us as we seek to do this. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.
- Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem, p. 262
- Systematic Theology “ p.309
- Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe, by Driscoll & Breshears p. 108
Join us as we take a clear and practical look at some of the most basic and essential tenants of the Christian life – the doctrines of the faith.
Each week, we will highlight and explain a core doctrine. Then, we will pose the question, “Why does this matter to you and me?”
You can catch all of this year’s “Delight in Doctrine” posts by clicking HERE.
For the purposes of the study, our main texts will be first, the Bible, of course, and Wayne Grudem’s classic, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.
It is our prayer that by the end of 2017, we will all find more delight in understanding what we believe and why we believe it.
“…And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (ESV)
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